ŌHard to see them die so here when they might be sent homeĶ
Camp near Fredericksburg VA
Thursday, December 25th, 1862
Christmas after Dark
By Candle light
I have just been relieved off of guard and it being Christmas I wanted to write to you all day so tonight is the first chance I got. I am doing it after candle light. My health at present thank God is good and I hope these lines will find you the same. Tom, I think, is not any better than when I last wrote to you. We have had a great Christmas here today. The weather was beautiful as any summer day and we had whiskey and fresh beef. My whiskey, Dear Clara, I traded off for tobacco and I have eat most all of my beef for dinner. There was no drilling in Camp today and the soldiers roamed at large without hindrance except me and I was put on guard last night and didnÕt get relieved until dark tonight. The men have been visiting the old Regiments all day and have just returned in Camp.
Today we performed the solemn rites of putting 5 more of our comrades in their last resting place and before many days there is a great many, I think, that will travel the same journey. I saw Ed [Lomis] this morning for the first time since we left Fredericksburg and I hardly knew him. Poor fellow, he looks as if he wonÕt stand it long. It is about as sudden a change in a person as I ever saw.
There seems to be some kind of disease here that takes a person very sudden and I donÕt believe the doctors understand it or how to cure it, and all agree that it is so much exposure to this kind of weather. Our men are dwindling away day by day very fast. It seems hard to see them die so here when they might be sent home just as well as not, where they would have good care and be with their friends. But our voice wonÕt do no good so I will not say anything more about it.
I will send you a couple of drawings made a day or two ago by myself. They represent the places I made them for life. I wish you would keep them until I come home and then I will make good pictures of them. I have sent a number of them before and I never heard you mention them so I donÕt know whether you ever got them or not.
While I am writing this letter another man has died in the hospital and three deserters have just been brought in the Camp by the Provo guard. One was Edgar Davis of our Company. He deserted about a month ago. I feel sorry for them because I think it will go pretty hard with them. Hank Baker is lying very sick with a fever.
I have not received any letter from you now in over 2 weeks. I donÕt know hardly what to think, it is so long or seems so to go without hearing from home. I canÕt help but think but what you have wrote often enough but the letters must be stopped on the way somewhere. I am all out of postage again and Dear Clarinda send me a few or else I canÕt write to you without some trouble. Dear Clara, this must make some 6 or 7 letters that I have wrote since the fight at Fredericksburg and I havenÕt gotten any as yet but I hope to hear from you soon.
There is not much news here at present so I will here close my letter. Take good care of your health and the childrenÕs. Dear Clara, kiss them often for my sake. Give my love to father, mother, sisters, and brothers and all inquiring friends. I remain yours truly and faithfully, God bless and protect you all,
Peter L. Dumont
I wish you all a merry Christmas.